The Mystic Impulse

The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.’ Karl Rhaner

Religion can sometimes be a hostile environment for those who discover there a god who is controlling, judging and demanding adherence to a strict set of rules. This god is usually very remote from us, often up there in a geographical heaven and he (for this god is always a he) usually induces in us such guilt that it is often easier to walk away than to carry such a burden.

It always surprises me that 2000 years on from Christ’s coming (the very event that was supposed to lift us out of the bleakness of the remote god consciousness) that so many are still oppressed by it and struggle to live the abundant life that God intends for us.

Luke 17:21 tells us that God’s kingdom is not a geographical location at all but that it is within us. Some translations will say that it is among us and both would be right, but in my experience we have to discover it within us in order to know it among us. You see, the Kingdom of God is a state of consciousness that we have to wake up to. It is all around us and within us (that is all of us) yet hidden from sight, we have to awaken to its presence to recognise it. So often we sleepwalk through life to the extent that we have never begun to question who we really are or why the remote god bears absolutely no resemblance at all to the God that Christ came to share with us.

Christian mystics all through the ages would tell us that there is, deep within us, a hidden place untouched by this world, where God’s ground and our ground meets. If we could but awaken to the awareness of this ground we would begin to discover the presence of God within and among us. God… immanent…fully present…in the very depths of our being and in all creation. This is not to say that God isn’t also transcendent, the creator of all being, but that’s for another post.

For the Christian mystic the desire is to offer hospitality to this hidden, divine presence that it might blossom and grow and merge with the soul and in that sweet fusion the fullness of life that God intended for us is realised.

Jesus gives us the key to creating an inner space where we offer  God our hospitality, as follows;

• Love God before all else.

• Love neighbour as self.

• Forgive and…go on forgiving.

• Hold no grudges.

• Let go of your pride …humility is the most hospitable environment your soul can offer to God.

• Be thankful in all circumstances .God’s generosity is truly beyond your comprehension.

• Give generously without counting the cost.

These were never meant to be a set of behavioural or moralistic rules to be adhered to for fear of God, these are a natural part of the soul’s blossoming when it chooses to respond to the ever present God.

Oh, and one other thing. Jesus was forever encouraging us to wake up..advice that is central to the contemplative path.

The kingdom of God is closer to you than you are to yourself. Just turn your attention inwards and allow that mystic impulse to guide you. It won’t be the easiest path you have ever travelled but it is the way to heaven on earth.

Breakfast Praise

At breakfast praise last Sunday we heard the story of the tiny mustard seed which grew into a huge tree that was big enough to provide so much for so many creatures.

Jesus tells us the Kingdom of God is a bit like this. The tiniest little bit that we offer can grow into so much more than we can imagine.

We went on to explore how the little bit that we can each do to help our planet, in our homes and our gardens is really important and even if it doesn’t seem very much to us our efforts grow and joined together with the effort that everyone makes can make a huge impact.

Above is a picture of some trees the we made.

Breakfast as usual was yummy and it was great to see so many of all ages enjoy this very special time together with God.

Next one is on 1st September 9.15. All are welcome.

Jayne

Heavenly Honeysuckle

Figs are beginning to ripen; the air is fragrant with blossoming vines.Come then, my love; my darling, come with me. 
Song of Solomon 2:13

One of my earliest memories as a child is the fragrance from the honeysuckle that used to grow along the wall just outside my bedroom window. On a warm summer evening when the window was open that heady, luxurious, fragrance would permeate the room and it felt like peace and bliss all rolled into one.

Over the years the sweet fragrance of the honeysuckle has seemed like an anchor so that whenever I smell it, it takes me back to that blissful, secure, innocence of childhood which I might now describe as, using Julian of Norwich’s words …all manner of things being well.

Since those days I have always sought to grow honeysuckle in places where I live, if non is already is growing there. It’s perfume has never ceased to be one of my favourites of all time.

This year as I watched the tiny buds begin to form on the one that grows along the garden wall, I could hardly wait to enjoy that heady incense once again. Day by day I would go into the garden to check how close to flowering those tiny buds were.

As they grew, each day I would breath in deeply close by to see if I could catch an early waft of that heavenly scent even though I knew there would be none until the flower opened and blossomed. As I waited I marvelled at the tiny bud and how the vine, held hidden within it such a wondrous gift, yet only when the time was right would it’s perfume be released, it was not in my power to quicken the process.

Watching and waiting I was struck by how the sun draws each tiny, gravity defying honeysuckle bud to fullness when its inner wisdom declares the time is right. So too is this true with the blossoming of the soul. Hidden as it is, quietly tended by immanent wisdom – way beyond our conscious knowing – so the soul is drawn by God towards it’s blossoming in divine fullness.

Some may not even be aware of this inner working, some may have reached this full flowering and offer its fragrance in service to the world. Yet others are impatient for this unfolding…rather like me urging the honeysuckle to flower before it’s ready, but we have to learn that only wisdom deems when the time is right. There is no point in our forcing the journey. If we would only take a leaf (no pun intended) out of the honeysuckle’s book we would simply learn to just be…in the present moment…allowing nature to take its own course, each according to its type. Instead we fret and worry about all sorts of things which most often never come to pass…we try to control and direct what will be, often things that are not ours to control in the first place and in this modern tecnological world we are all subjected to time pressures that leave us stressed and anxious and so not able to hear the voice of wisdom within us that speaks so softly and tenderly.

Yet if we could hear that voice we would hear about a love for each and every one of us which constantly draws all of creation to itself.  We can resist it, but only for so long…in the end its strains will, rather like a heady scent, catch our attention and draw us too, to where peace and bliss truly are all rolled into one.  And so,  in the end, at the final reckoning, we will all know the truth spoken by that wonderful mystic, Julian of Norwich, that ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’

Jayne